Albatross Nippers is a surf-life saving program for kids of all abilities on the Gold Coast.
Albatross Nippers is a Gold Coast Nippers program for young people with special needs – but importantly they are never treated differently from other participants.
Unlike other beach based special needs programs, the Albatross Nippers is not held on a special day, at a special time, at a special beach, it is conducted within the Nobbys Beach Sunday Nipper program. While this inclusivity is amazing for the children, it is invaluable for the local community volunteers, and families. The program breaks down barriers and stereotypes and aims to empower and educate the community about different disabilities, so all families can be active and enjoy the beach.
Growing up on the Gold Coast and being a nipper in a local surf club is almost a rite of passage, but up until recently this has been something that a child who was born with special needs did not have access to. This has been the driving force behind The Albatross Nipper program. The program is about allowing children with special needs and their families to join a nipper surf club and reconnect with the community. So many of these families have not been able to do this and their children have missed out on the lifelong friendships and memories that occur as being a part of a surf club
One family described the experience as a chance to feel like a normal Gold Coast family, one that does normal things with other families at the beach. Another family said the experience was life changing as up until they started this program their family had held the beach as off limits.
By improving the facilities, with equipment, such as soft rescue paddle boards, as well as a beach all access wheelchair, more children with severe disabilities will also be able to share this nipper and surf club experience.
A Dreams for a Better World grant will ensure disabled and special needs children aren't restricted from attending and experiencing all the joys of Surf Lifesaving Nippers. The much needed funds will continue to support the running of this amazing program over Summer as well as allow the program money to purchase a Beach Wheelchair so that those children who are not ambulant or steady on their feet on the uneven sandy surfaces can make their way down the beach and in to the water to experience the ocean and catching waves.